Saturday, February 23, 2008

Tucson Mountain Park adventure - so many trails takes so much time!

'There must be some kind of way out of here...' ~ Jimi Hendrix
This is the theme of the trail run that Laurie and I did today! We ventured into Tucson Mountain Park on the West side of Tucson for a 12 mile run for Laurie and a 20 mile run for me. We headed out on the Explorer trail, which starts at Kennedy Park (off of La Cholla South of 36th St.) After some wrong turns, we decided we were on the right trail. However, we ran into a 'troll'; in other words, some really strange guy who was yelling out loud and appeared to be standing there with a plastic bag and up to no good. We were fairly far away from him at this point, but we decided to hightail it outta there and head on over around the mountain a different way. We ended up on another trail, which for all we knew was the Explorer trail, and made our way into the park.

The weather was warming up fast - what a beautiful Winter day in Tucson! A little cloudy, but nice and warm. I was wearing my other arm warmers - Pearl Izumi - with the cute pink roses on them, but quickly peeled them off.

We think at some point we may have ended up running on the 36th trail (it looked familiar from our Winter Trail Series race), which had this amazing stand of saguaro cactuses. I think the Tucson Mountains have many more saguaros than the Rincon Mountains. They are majestic and seem wise and beautiful.

We ended up running into some Tucson runners we knew - Tia Accetta, Paula Morrison and another familar face - not sure who it was. After talking with them, we decided to do the Starr Pass trail out to Tucson Mountain estates (off of Kinney Rd.), then looping back around to the Yetman Trail. It was very pretty and we were having a great time!

Unfortunately, Laurie stepped down on her leg on a rocky part of this loop and tweaked her hamstring, and had pain from her right hip down to her knee. We kept running and stopped periodically to stretch and rest, but it continued to get worse. Rather than make our way back to Kennedy Park (okay, at this point, this lovely loop was adding quite a bit of mileage on - it was turning into a 15 mile run for Laurie!), we headed out to the 36th Street trail, which seemed closer. Here is the sign right here (clearly says .9 miles):

Well, as can happen in Tucson Mountain Park (trails are not well marked at all), we ended up coming out in Starr Pass somewhere (there was an unmarked branch off of the trail that we did not take - must have been to the 36th St. trailhead!) So, we ended up walking through the Starr Pass neighborhoods a few blocks (Laurie is barely making it at this point), and then we found the big hill that we did for our Winter Trail Series race, which we knew went up and over to 36th St. I can't believe Laurie was able to do it, but she amazingly hobbled up and down that huge hill. What a trooper.

The top of that hill is cool, though - it has a stone house on it, as does the Yetman Trail and the Tortolita Mountains Wild Mustang trail.

She had called already her son, who was waiting at the trailhead to bring us back to our trucks at Kennedy Park. I went on to do 3 more miles, which gave me a total of about 17 miles. Laurie ended up doing 14 miles total. I'm pretty wiped out - I was out there a total of about 4 hours, with all of the walking that we did. Also, if you can believe it, I'm sunburned!

So glad to be done. It is always an adventure in Tucson Mountain Park.


angie's pink fuzzy said...

wow, what a crazy run! other than the hamstring injury, it sounds like it was fun.

and i LOVE those arm warmers!

Marathoner in Training said...

Hope the hamstring feels better soon. I see you got your dirty girls on your shoes. I saw a lot of them at the Across the Years race. That was some beautiful run. AZ has so much to be seen and this time of year is the best.

Sarah said...

I don't have any first hand experience but I think you can't go wrong with most of the major hotels downtown. I've been meaning to ask you what size you wear for the pink sleeves. They're Moeben, right? You can email me: sarah430 at gmail dot com.